Darren Arnofsky’s film Noah is turning out to be one of those cultural touchstones that divide viewers according to worldview. It not only calls the authority of Scripture into question, but also explains other crucial themes -- the sanctity of human life, man’s relation to the environment, the nature of sin and salvation, God’s purpose in creation, and God Himself -- in a way quite different from how they are rendered in Genesis and the rest of God's word. 

Here are a few insightful critiques from those who've seen the movie:

  • In Sympathy for the Devil, Dr. Brian Mattson points out its disturbing Gnostic/Kabbalistic/mystic underpinnings.


Apparently, the movie even gets the meaning of the rainbow wrong.

We "happened" to write about Noah in our latest Life Matters copy-ready bulletin insert -- Noah: Violent or Righteous? The Bible teaches that Noah stood out as someone who was "other than" the status quo, while the movie depicts him as a killer. Movie Noah believed his mission was to destroy all the people on the ark after they had saved the animals!

Another resource that you can use in your church, Sunday school, youth group, etc., to teach biblical truths is Noah and the Last Days, from the makers of 180 and Evolution vs. God. View it online and download a free ebook.

A year ago, a team from Life Matters Worldwide ventured to the Philippines to conduct trainings for LIFT ministry. One of the participants was Lalaine Mirasol, a widowed mother with two sons. 

From that training, God lit a fire in her -- or as she would say -- LIFT became part of her DNA.

Working with Dr. Mae Corvera (in light blue), Lalaine (far left) helped start the Ruth Foundation for Palliative and Hospice Care in Manila. She serves as its Community Relations Officer. Now based in Baguio City, similar work is underway. 

She tells the story of helping an elderly cancer patient. "A month ago, I regularly visited her to share the Gospel, and she received Jesus as her Lord and Savior. During her last breath, I asked her, is there anything you want, or that you want to see? She smiled and said, 'I'm happy now. Thank you so much, Lalaine!'"

Even though she's not a singer, Lalaine sang for her:

"Because He lives, I can face tomorrow." Then, with a smile on her face and holding Lalaine's hand, the woman took her final breath. Tears of joy filled Lalaine's heart.

Is it any wonder that, with experiences like this, LIFT would become such a passion in her life? 

You can help Lalaine by praying for her. In addition to caring for her own mother (pictured with Lalaine at right), she has many hopes and dreams for LIFT to flourish in Baguio. As she waits for God to guide and provide, she prays He will lead her to "the right local church and people who are interested and have willing hearts to obey the Great Commission through LIFT training."

In life, there are really only two things to do: Pray or praise. When you think about it, almost everything fits on one of two lists: prayer requests or answers to prayer. 

If something induces fear, doubt, anger, stress, worry, pain, or sorrow -- it's cause for prayer. If it provokes feelings of joy, peace, gratitude, or hope -- take it to the Lord in praise!

People who follow Life Matters Worldwide on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn will notice that our messages often fall along these lines. As we relate prayer requests and answers to prayer from partners around the world, we're growing in our own habit of communicating with God and also encouraging you in that practice.

Over 1200 people have signed up to receive our monthly prayer calendars. Build your communion with God by joining them!

You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. --2 Cor. 1:11 ESV

On social media over the past two weeks, we requested prayer for events taking place in two parts of the world: a pro-life conference in Peru, and a volunteer training seminar in Ukraine

During the conference February 6-8, a significant milestone was celebrated. The biblical pro-life movement in Peru -- and in most of Latin America -- began 15 years ago when the first evangelistic pregnancy care center was established in Lima. Feliz quinceañera! to everyone at Centro Prenatal Vida Nueva.

Volunteer training is a significant stepping-stone in the process of opening a PCC. Choose Life! Odessa in Ukraine took that exciting step February 13-18 when it hosted its first training seminar for over 50 volunteers.

Intertwining paths Reflecting on the concurrence of these two events can lead one to marvel at the hand of God. You see, years ago Holly Friesen, a missionary nurse, was working with Evelyn Stone in Lima, Peru, at the start of Centro Prenatal Vida Nueva. She saw how effective PCCs can be in reaching women. 

Flash forward a few years After the center in Lima was established, Evelyn Stone visited the states and led a workshop for missionaries about using PCC ministry on the mission field. That workshop was attended by Dr. Miriam Wheeler -- a missionary to Odessa, Ukraine. She recognized the potential for PCC ministry in a country where abortion is rampant. 

A few more steps When Holly arrived to work in medical missions in Odessa with Dr. Wheeler, the two put their heads together and began plotting the course of steps that, one day, will lead to another milestone. 

Click to read more.In "Respecting the Moral Agency of Women, Virginia Ramey Mollenkott says she can find no scripture to settle the question of "competing rights between mother and fetus," and thus settle the abortion issue. 

This mindset reveals itself in statements by "pro-choice" advocates such as:

"An abortion when needed is a blessing. It is a gift, a grace, a mercy, a cause for gratitude, a new lease on life." --Valerie Tarico, Planned Parenthood Board of Advocates

“I feel like God wants me to do this job” --Diane Derzis, owner of the last abortion facility in Mississippi

Choosing abortion is "what religious liberty is about." --Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America

[Added May 30, 2014 --

Why I perform abortions: A Christian obstetrician explains his choice
The Abortion Ministry of Dr. Willie Parker]

Aside from multiple references to the existence and personal characteristics of babies still in the womb (among them Genesis 16:11-12, 25:23; Luke 1:15,44), there is ample scriptural help for when we have to for decide between the competing rights of individuals. Look at what God says to slaves and masters, husbands and wives, Israelis and foreigners, rich and poor, etc. In short, the Bible is full of instructions concerning civil disputes in which one rival party is the "person" and the other generally considered "non-person."

God's word makes a strong case against treating anyone as a "non-person human being." Slaves are persons. Women are persons. Gentiles are persons. Poor people are persons. Scripture demands we treat all impartially, as persons made in God's image. 

There are plenty of candidates for what is being called "non-person status" recorded in Scripture, but no allowance is granted for their mistreatment. The unborn child is, therefore, a worthy candidate for protection.

Related reading: In addition to scripture, I have found the article "Medical Ethics and What it Means to Be Human" by Donel O'Mathuna very helpful.

See also Scott Klusendorf's "Dead Silence: Must the Bible Say Abortion is Wrong Before We Can Know It's Wrong?"

Tributes for Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday, use words like "humility," "grace," and "forgiveness." One accolade -- that he treated people as he would want to be treated -- made me think of the sermon by Pastor John Hayden that we are using as our Pastor's Handbook update this year.

As Pastor Hayden points out, the "Golden Rule" is a uniquely Christian idea. Many ancient cultures recognized that the evil a person does often comes back to plague him or her. Instead of promoting kindness, however, the effect of this thinking is to grant permission for "doing unto others what they have done to you."

This is how many thought Mandela would behave upon his release from prison and ascension to the presidency, but he resisted that impulse and called for reconciliation and forgiveness. It is told that he invited his former jailers to sit in the front row at his inauguration as a sign of peace-making.

I cannot say whether he was a Christian, but this "fruit" is telling. A few articles I read this morning, however, raise doubt:

South African bishops wrong to laud Mandela
South African missionary cautions against new film praising life of Nelson Mandela

Sadly, this almost universally heralded leader supported abortion on demand and other sinful practices. Did he do to the unborn what he wished done to him? As much good as he may have accomplished, his was not a completely golden life.

Read The Golden Life by downloading it through our online store. Access is free of charge.

Are you familiar with Abby Johnson? 

Abby ran a Planned Parenthood Center in Texas until the day that God grabbed a hold of her heart.While assisting with an ultrasound lead abortion, Abby's eyes were opened to the horror of what was happening around her. Walking out of that clinic into the arms of the pro-life movement, Abby founded And Then There Were None. Today, this organization helps abortion workers leave the industry. By causing a shortage of workers, Abby hopes to shut down clinics. With the tag line, "no abortion clinic workers, no abortion clinics, no abortions", Abby and her Board have already assisted a staggering number of workers find new employment and healing.    

In late July, Abby shared a powerful memory of her time in the abortion industry in LifeNews.com. When a distraught patient was on the table, the doctor spoke to the girl, which Abby had never seen before. When she confessed that she felt what she was about to do was a sin, the doctor simply said "I will take your sin". But we know it doesn't work that way. 

Read Abby's thoughts regarding the sin of abortion. It isn't just the doctor and the patient, but also the Church for its silence and in-activism. What a beautiful call to action! 

http://www.lifenews.com/2011/07/26/abby-johnson-abortion-doc-told-patient-i-will-take-your-sin/

And please keep Abby and her organization in your prayers. This unique approach is changing the hearts and minds of many.

How much do you know about President Obama's Health Care package? Does it really include what some are calling a "Death Panel" designed to refuse medical care to those who need it most? Will this cost control work?

These are questions that Howard Dean (former Democratic Presidential Candidate) addressed on Monday. Dean authored an Op-Ed Article in the Wall Street Journal sharing his concerns regarding the law. 

As Obamacare launches, all citizens should ask the following questions: 

  • Who will serve on this committee? Currently the "Death Panel" or IPAB (Independent Panel Advisory Board) will be appointed by the President. In the words of Representative Paul Ryan, the members are "15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in charge of Medicare...”
  • How will it affect the lives of our elderly? Dean claims, “By setting doctor reimbursement rates for Medicare and determining which procedures and drugs will be covered and at what price, the IPAB will be able to stop certain treatments its members do not favor by simply setting rates to levels where no doctor or hospital will perform them."

BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO? 

  1. Become informed. Spend 2 minutes reviewing Dean's article! It will provide the information you need.
  2. Pray. "pray continually," 1 Thessalonians 5:17
  3. Vote. "Rescue those being lead away to death; hold back those staggering towards slaughter. If you say, "We knew nothing about this," does not HE who weighs the heart perceive it? Proverbs 24:!1-12a
  4. Support programs that value the end of life. Do you know about LIFTLIFT is a ministry of compassionate care to people with chronic or terminal illnesses. It includes their loved ones, who are facing extraordinary pressures that can be physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining. 


We worship a God who values all life. Let us committee, together, to follow his lead.

"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps." 

Proverbs 16:9

Each of us make our plans. We diligently pursue what we perceive to be the "perfect path" for our life. We have hopes. We have dreams. We have goals. This is part of what makes us human. 

But what do you do when those "perfect dreams" just don't happen? What do you do when God has another path for you to walk?

This is the story of one man whose "perfect plan" included the birth of a "perfect child". One to match his seemingly "perfect life". A child that would fit within his "picture perfect future". But God knew better. HE knew that this couple didn't need what the world would consider a "perfect child". Instead, they needed the "perfect child for them". A child who would draw them closer to HIMSELF. Making one man more like Christ and less like the world. And how could HIS plan not be "perfect"?

This 15 minute story will make you smile as you cry. It will make you see "perfect love" in the midst of dashed hopes and altered dreams. You won't regret watching. 

Organizations have a difficult time succinctly stating their mission. Ask any Executive Board Member and you will find that the phrase "Strategic Planning Meeting" is considered foul language. For christian ministries, consider the task of changing hearts, minds and circumstances, while sharing the Lord. Now articulate that process in a few short words. 

Individuals have their own personal ministry as well. Their life! In fact, God assures us that our ministry should be clearly identifiable to others.

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35(NIV)

How much time have you taken to review your mission statement? Are your daily tasks aligning with His vision? Could others recognize your purpose? 

Alpha Women's Center of Grand Rapids made the following short promotional video describing their ministry. What an amazingly clear statement. 

What would your 4 minute commercial look like?  


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